Feeds

Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Feathery limbs acted as 'extra set of wings' for precision attacks

The next step in data security

Flabbers around the world were gasted this week, as news emerged of a previously unknown flying dinosaur equipped with feathered legs – giving it the ability to make precision landings or attacks on its prey.

Feathery death from above

The 125-million-year-old dinosaur is of the Microraptor group and is named Changyuraptor yangi. Its fossilised remains were found in Liaoning Province, northeastern China. The remarkably well preserved dinosaur was particularly feathery, according to the investigating boffins, having not only ordinary wings but also its remarkable feathered legs - able to act more or less as a second set of wings for extra-precise flight manoeuvres - and also a tail with extra-long feathers.

"At a foot in length, the amazing tail feathers of Changyuraptor are by far the longest of any feathered dinosaur," boasts Luis Chiappe, one of the paleontologists who discovered the multiplex-winged monster.

According to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, where Dr Chiappe works:

These microraptorine dinosaurs are dubbed "four-winged" because the long feathers attached to the legs have the appearance of a second set of wings.

The tail and extra wings would have given the Changyuraptor extra fine control during landings, either ordinary ones or those carried out during hunting. Chiappe and his colleagues write:

The new fossil possesses the longest known feathers for any non-avian dinosaur. Furthermore, it is the largest theropod with long, pennaceous feathers attached to the lower hind limbs (that is, ‘hindwings’). The lengthy feathered tail of the new fossil provides insight into the flight performance of microraptorines and how they may have maintained aerial competency at larger body sizes. We demonstrate how the low-aspect-ratio tail of the new fossil would have acted as a pitch control structure reducing descent speed and thus playing a key role in landing.

Full boffinry detail on the new flying leg-spreading dino can be found here, courtesy of the journal Nature Communications. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.